Hampshire tenant farmer Oliver Neagle was forced to cull 18 of his cows after water supplies to his farm were cut. The dairy farmer pays for water as part of his rent, however he endured breaks in his supply in December and February. Southern Water laid on bottled water for consumers, but had no solution to offer Neagle’s livestock. The number of lactating cows on his farm has gone down from 110 head to 82. With fewer milking cows, the business is compromised and faces harder times. You can read the BBC’s account of what happened here.
This story is an example of the sort of public interest reporting carried out by local BBC journalists that would not have had any traction for commercial broadcasters. Neagle’s story must not be allowed to go down the back of the sofa, no more than the importance of fearless public sector journalism should be undervalued or misunderstood.